Posted by Matt G on September 28, 2001 at 21:15:28:
In Reply to: F tuba Dilemma posted by Andy Smith on September 28, 2001 at 16:02:24:
As a previous owner of a 621, I have a little to add.
First off, are the pitch problems your having focus around the F in the staff and above the staff? Is G in the staff (1st vavle) extremely flat? This seem to be somewhat common. If I had kept my 621 I would have had the 1st valve cut down 3/4-1" and a tuning slide made that was about an inch longer. This would have made the pitch problems a little better. By the way I had every slide lubed I could get to and a pull ring put on the 2nd valve for better access.
Second, get a shallow bowl mouthpiece like a Mirafone C4. This will brighten up the horn a little and make the horn a little more present. However, I agree with Sean as that they sound a little dead.
I would also ask the director what type of sound he is looking for. Does he really want louder or bigger or brighter? A 621 can play plenty loud, but it does get easily lost. I think it lacks some strength in the upper harmonics, which seem to lend me to believe that that is why the pitch problems on these horns exist mainly above the staff. Notice the "German" F tubas have pitch problems below the staff, sound a little weak at times below the staff and the horns have a higher harmonic content to my ear.
I would deal with what you've got for now just for accuracy and familiarty's sake. If you want an "Orchestral" F get a recording of the concert you use the Yamaha in and evaluate what you want to get out of the horn that is different. If I were you I would buy a MW 45 rotary or a B&S PT-10 (or an old Alex), but that is me. These horns seem to "cut" through the context better and come across as louder in Berlioz, Brahams, Franck, and the other F tuba/ small CC orchestral stuff.
If you really wanted to make a point: If you have a talented first trombone player and he/she has access to an Alto Trombone and can play it efficiently, have them use it on the Berlioz. That change will make a huge difference to the entire brass section. For me, I like the Alto much better, since it sounds so natural on the high Eb's. Plus it sounds better in conjunction with the F tuba.
Sometimes directors see a bigger tuba and think it is louder. I have played in concerts with a bell front tubas SOFTLY and the director thinks it is louder because of a big shiny bell aimed at his head. We often hear with our eyes much more than we think, so much that when a director see the bigger horn, they immediately think they hear more tuba.